MCPS returns to the 10-day spring break for 2019-2020
December 6, 2018
A recent decision by the Montgomery County Board of Education last month modified the calendar for the 2019-2020 school year, adding four days to the preexisting six-day spring break. The calendar still features 182 instructional days total, with school starting on Sept. 3, 2019 and ending on June 15, 2020.
The Board of Education started discussing the topic in October this year, and they received hundreds of comments from parents, students, and families in support of a longer spring break. A district-wide survey and many smaller individual surveys asked Montgomery County residents their preference of a 10-day spring break over a six-day one, and the majority favored of the former. “I honestly think that I’d rather have a six-day spring break and three professional days just because I think we need more breaks in between,” junior Emnet Kahsay said.
Unlike the current six-day break schedule, which provides teachers three professional days throughout the year to plan for the next quarter, the 10-day spring break decision will only allow for one professional day. Instead, former professional days will become half days. “I think they [the teachers] are just going to be upset about it, but because we have the half days I think they’ll make it work,” said Kahsay.
Half days count as a full day of school, even though the amount of instruction is significantly less than a normal school day with 45-minute classes.
Though the new spring break might take away professional days from teachers, it adds on more time for students to visit family, colleges, or go on vacation. “Every student wants to have more days for vacation,” junior Valentina Della Maddalena said, “but on the other side, I think that it’s worse for teachers because they’re going to lose attention [from students].”
Returning from break is an issue for both teachers and students due to how much classroom time is lost. During a break, school productivity is limited, and many students find it hard to return to their studies when the vacation is over. “When we have so many days without school, the students start to lose attention. They start to forget the things that they were learning before spring break,” Della Maddalena said.
Not only does it affect students, but teachers also struggle with motivating their classes to focus on their work. “For AP classes, since their exams are in May, it wouldn’t really affect them too much, but I think the Honors kids and definitely the on-level kids will be impacted, because that’s ten days of lost content,” Chemistry teacher Michael Ashmead said. “Kids are going to forget.”